A wildfire near Darrington in 2017. Photo courtesy of Northwest Washington Incident Management Team

A wildfire near Darrington in 2017. Photo courtesy of Northwest Washington Incident Management Team

National Guard could see pay bump for wildfire response

House passes bill with 94-0 vote

By Madeline Coats, WNPA Olympia News Bureau

OLYMPIA — State representatives passed a bill in a 94-0 vote on Friday to increase the pay of National Guard members for their wildland fire response duty.

House Bill 1137 is co-sponsored by 15 bipartisan representatives and introduced by Rep. Mari Leavitt, D-Lakewood. The bill was requested by the state Military Department.

“Washington has a wildfire crisis,” said Leavitt at the floor hearing. “People are losing their property, their lands and even their lives.”

According to Leavitt, the state hit a record number of wildfires last year, resulting in 440,000 acres burned. The National Guard has been assisting in wildland fire response, stemming from the increase in fires, she explained.

The legislation aims to update the pay structure for wildland fire response so that it is equal to other state agencies handling wildfires. The director of the state Military Department would be responsible for establishing the pay structure, subject to approval by the Office of Financial Management.

“In 30 years, we have not updated the compensation statute for our National Guard members,” Leavitt said. “We are failing them.”

National guard members are paid less than minimum wage to protect our wildlands and homes, she said. HB 1137 would require pay and allowances equal to that of the United States Armed Forces or state minimum wage.

The measure was Leavitt’s first bill to be passed by the House. The companion Senate bill, SB 5196, will be considered next.

More in News

Kent Police seek help to find burglary suspect

Man breaking into homes on West Hill near Fred Meyer

King County’s $5 million derelict boat problem

When a boat sinks, it costs a lot to bring it up, with millions being spent since 2003 on removals.

Kent/Auburn pimp gets 23 years in prison for sex trafficking

Aubrey Taylor forced victims to work for him

Fourth King County measles case confirmed this month

Public Health – Seattle & King County is investigating a new measles… Continue reading

Kent Police travel to Washington, D.C. to honor fallen officers

Diego Moreno, Derek Focht added to memorial wall

Puget Sound Fire call report

Type, number of incidents

Highway 167 lanes to close overnight in Kent for bridge work

Between South 212th Street and 84th Avenue exits

Susan’s quest for ‘justice’ and the civil legal system dilemma

While citizens have the right to an attorney in criminal cases, they’re not afforded the same rights in civil litigation.

A young Folklore Mexicano Tonantzin dancer performs during the Kent International Festival in the sun-spangled plaza of the accesso ShoWare Center on Saturday. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter
A show of color, for all to see

Festival celebrates cultural diversity with music, dance, food and art

Most Read